(Submitted August 04, 1997)
How are the Cosmonauts in MIR protected from Ultraviolet,
X-Rays and Gamma-rays?
Cosmonauts and astronauts are protected from UV, X-rays and gamma-rays
by the material in the hull and windows of their spacecraft.
The primary concerns are with gamma-rays and high energy particles,
such as protons accelerated by solar flares. The choice of material
and thicknesses are dictated primarily by structural and thermal
considerations. Metals (which are often used to meet these
considerations) are generally opaque to UV, X-ray and gamma-ray radiation.
I have not been able to find the specifications of the composition
and thicknesses of the hull and windows of Mir. However, according
to the Shuttle Reference Manual
the skin of the forward fuselage of the
Shuttle is made of 'conventional 2024 aluminum alloy', while the crew
compartment is constructed of '2219 aluminum alloy plate'. The windows
are comprised of either 2 or 3 panes of glass, depending on the window
location, with the panes between 0.25 and 1.3 inches and made of either
aluminosilicate or fused silica.
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